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Tuesday, 23rd April 2013

The latest European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) safety tests involve six significant cars. After the simulated frontal and side-impact crashes, the Nissan Leaf emerged as the first fully electric vehicle to achieve a five-star overall rating for occupant protection.

Nissan says its top score was due to the Leaf's battery pack being located below the rear seat compartment, minimising the risks of battery damage or high-voltage leaking.

Euro NCAP is an independent organisation that carries out controlled tests on all the latest cars so that buyers can compare like with like.

Those tests include frontal impact, side impact, side pole impact and whiplash.

The Leaf – the reigning European and World Car of the Year – earned an 89pc rating for adult safety, and 83pc rating for child protection and an 84pc rating for its on-board safety assist systems.

Nissan Leaf - A car

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Tuesday, 23rd April 2013

Craig Breen Rallying is delighted to announce that Craig Breen and his Killarney co driver Paul Nagle will take on both the Cartell.IE International Rally of the Lakes, 3-5 of May and the Topaz Donegal International Rally 21-23, of June.

The Peugeot Sport Academy crew will compete in the National section of both events driving a class 13 Mk11 Escort owned and sponsored by James Coleman of Suirway Forklifts & Suirway Farm Machinery.

Making the announcement Craig said, "I'm so delighted this opportunity has come up. This is a huge year for me competing in the FIAERC as a Peugeot Rallye Academy works driver. But as a consequence I had not scheduled a home event for 2013. Now with this two rally deal from James, it gives Paul and me the ideal chance to compete in two of the most famous Irish

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Tuesday, 16th April 2013

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

Why should I still contribute to my pension plan?

We all know there will come a time when we will no longer be able to work and we will need to have resources to fall back upon in our later years. Traditionally, Government policy has been to encourage such saving by giving tax relief to long term savers providing for their retirement. The Government has launched a flurry of attacks on pensions and pension benefits.

The State Old Age Pension age has been increased from 65 to 68 for those who will retire in 2028. Eligibility for a State pension is changing which means the pension paid to you will be directly proportionate to the number of social insurance contributions and/or credits you have made over your working life.

Private pension funds were levied with an annual charge of 0.

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Tuesday, 16th April 2013

Revenue would like to take this opportunity to outline some key points in relation to the Local Property Tax (LPT) having regard to commentary and the queries received:

This is a self-assessed tax, which means that you assess the value of your property having regard to the guidance available, your knowledge of the property and the local area.

Useful sources to help you assess the market value of your property are set out in the Guide being delivered to liable persons.

Revenue is asking property owners to engage reasonably and honestly with the process, and their self assessment will be accepted. The band system means you don't have to be precise and Revenue does not expect people to pay for a professional valuation.

Revenue has engaged extensively with local authorities in order to obtain lists of their properties that can be matched to Revenue's

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Tuesday, 2nd April 2013

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

What will removal of the Eligible Liabilities Guarantee Scheme (ELG) mean?

The ELG scheme ended at midnight on 28th March 2013.

The institutions covered by the ELG are:

- AIB - including previous Anglo Irish Bank deposits that were moved to AIB on 1 July 2011

- Bank of Ireland

- EBS Limited (EBS became a subsidiary of AIB on 1 July 2011)

- ICS Building Society

- Irish Life and Permanent - including Irish Nationwide Building Society deposits that were moved to Irish Life and Permanent on 1 July 2011

The ending of the ELG scheme removes a costly distortion in the wider deposit market in Ireland and should improve conditions for the normal flow of credit in the economy.

Depositors will have the same protection as all other depositors across Europe. Their deposits will continue to be guaranteed by the Deposit Guarantee Scheme [DGS]

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Tuesday, 2nd April 2013

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, has announced the publication of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill 2013. It confirms that certain statutory provisions that were repealed by the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 will continue, as intended by the Oireachtas when that legislation was passed, to apply to mortgages created before the entry into force of that Act, i.e. mortgages created before 1 December 2009. The Bill also contains proposals for new safeguards which will mean that in any repossession proceedings in respect of a borrower's principal private residence or family home, the court may adjourn the proceedings in order to permit the drawing up of a Personal Insolvency Arrangement as an alternative to repossession.

The background to the legislation is a well-known 2011 case (Start Mortgages), in which the High Court found

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Tuesday, 2nd April 2013

Property prices in Waterford have stabilised somewhat with the latest survey from property website MyHome.ie showing that median asking house prices in the country were unchanged in the first three months of 2013. The survey shows that it takes an average of 11 months for a house in the county to proceed to the sale agreed stage.

There is a sharp contrast in the movement of prices between three and four bedroom houses, with the asking price of a three bedroom house down 3.1% in the first quarter at €155,000 while the average asking price of a four bedroom house was 2.8% higher at €185,000.

The rate of decline in property prices nationally has continued to moderate with prices falling by 1.8% in the first quarter of 2013. This compares with a fall of 3% in the previous quarter.

According to the latest

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Wednesday, 27th March 2013

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

What is Modern Risk Theory?

In 1660, Blaise Pascal did some pioneering work on risk. He was dealing with theology, but the implications for the capital markets are unmistakable. His original concern was the expected value of believing in god. He attempted to convert nebulous uncertainties into calculable probabilities - what we now call risk. His "expected values" are the basis of modern risk theory. Pascal demonstrated that uncertainty is about people, their beliefs and their courage, while calculated risk is based on information, knowledge and credible scenarios.

Together with his colleague, Pierre de Fermat, Pascal came to the conclusion that people are naturally risk averse - the more risk is involved with a particular asset, the greater the return that investors will require as compensation. However, many consumers have a skewed perception of the risk they actually are

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Wednesday, 27th March 2013

In response to queries received, the number of hits to the valuation guidance website, letters issued, calls and returns received, Revenue would like to take this opportunity to reiterate some key points and clarify some misleading commentary.

- The Revenue Estimate of LPT included in the letter issuing to property owners is only relevant where some body does not complete and file the LPT return.

- You don't appeal the Revenue Estimate - you simply displace it by completing the return with your own estimate. This means that you self-assess the value of your property, complete the return, select a payment option and send it to Revenue. There is nothing to appeal.

- Don't ignore the return. If you do, Revenue will pursue collection of the Estimate.

- Useful sources of information to help you arrive at the market value of your property include valuation guidance on

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Wednesday, 20th March 2013

John Smiles - Qualified Financial Advisor

Is Cash still king?

Over the last few years, cash has very much been the choice for Irish investors as other assets have been largely avoided. This risk aversion has been driven by investors' experience during the financial crisis of 2008 and the destruction of wealth in its aftermath.

The ‘flight to cash' was aided by the artificially high deposit rates on offer from the Irish banks just as the focus of investors shifted from capital growth to capital preservation. If an investor could get a ‘guaranteed' rate of return of 5% or more from a deposit, they opted for this and effectively postponed an investment decision.

Another refuge for the risk averse, both here and abroad, has been fixed interest funds. J P Morgan says that approximately US$2 trillion has gone into fixed interest funds over the

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Letters to the Editor

  • OUR VIEW

    Celtic BounceThat our economy has steadily been getting better in the last number of years is something that won't be lost on most people. In fact things were so bad for so long at one period that there was no other way but up. Things are getting better but the questions have to be how much better and for whom? That there has been a bounce in our economy was witnessed by the better than average trading figures for the Christmas and New Year period. People did have more money to spend and they went ahe …

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